Review: Battlefield 2

Original Article Here


War. (huh, yeah!)
What is it good for? -well, unlike the song, not absolutely nothing. After all, you’ve got to admit, some pretty damn fine games have been based on wars and major battles, and probably one of the more sucessful franchises from the monolith that is EA Games, Battlefield 1942 and the stopgap, Battlefield Vietnam, proved to be one of EA’s more successful franchises, with players regulary joining 64 man soldiers and making those sort of gaming moiments you can talk about at the pub – well, as long as you can talk about such moments with being given a funny look by the non-gamers…

One of the more interesting factors about the original is that it had a hugely successful mod, Desert Combat, which became the second most popular mod after Counter Strike. This took the game to the modern era and introduced new features to the game. Well, DICE seem to have been heavily influenced by the mod as they worked on this, the sequel. So, the question you’re dying to know is – what is the game like? Well, EA and DICE have done quite a good job actually.

Firstly, veterans of the first game will be pleased to know that the funadamental mechanics of the first game remain untouched. Games still consist of two teams starting at their spawn points on either side of a huge game map, with several flags at key positions around the map. Players must capture these flags by standing below them for a few seconds until the flag changes to your team’s colour. The teams also start with a certain amount of "tickets" and every time you capture a point the enemy loses tickets, which also fall when someone is forced to respawn. However, as well as being tactica points to take, each flag also houses a number of vehicles, including Jeeps, Tanks and even ‘Copters and Jet fighters, and this is what made the first game so popular. Yes, all of them drivable and mannable by multiple players, once again the viechles are a joy to drive – not too complicated for the novice, but talent players will find ways to pull off some incredible manouvers, and quite often you’ll join a server to see some show-off barrell-rolling their way across the map.

So, new features for the sequel? Well, firstly -as hinted at earlier, the new game is set in the modern day warfare- that means new weapons, more up to date viechles, and three new teams, the USMC, MEC and CPA. There isn’t any difference in how they play, but just like the first two games, players are able to pick from one of six clasess, and this is where the uniqueness lies. For example, Medics can heal and even revive fellow soldiers in the field, but they only carry a weak rifle. Meanwhile the Engineers can repair friendly vehicles, but in a gunfight they’re pretty weak. So it’s up to the various classes to support each other, and of course, a team without leadership is not much more use than a pack of wild geese. This is where BF2′s other new features, that of Commanders and Squad Leaders, come in. At the start of each round, players can apply to be commander of their entire team. This means they can bring up a map, and drop supplies, unmanned spy drones and even launch an artillery strike on the opposing team – so long as the special ops don’t blow up this capability. In adittion, they give orders to the other important part of the teams – squad leaders. Players can form squads of which a leader is assigned, and then they can choose whther to give their own orders or follow the Commander’s orders. The best part, however, is that members of the squad can spawn on their leader, so this makes for fantastic battles to hold onto key points – and makes for a lot more of those down the pub moments. It also means its great for players who want to play together, they can form a squad and buddy up, supporting each other rather than passing each other occasionally.

As for visuals, the game does look absolutely stunning, but be warned that this game is not easy on system specs, and if you’re on 56k forget it- this is a game made for the fatpipe – but to have 64 man battles raging over the brilliant maps, such as the battle over a dam – yes, you can base jump and will frequently see your fellow soldiers leaping off the top, opening their parachutes and gliding to the bottom. But, having a lot of ram, and good graphics card is a must for this game. Other niggles? Well, the netcode does appear to need some work – it can be quite har to find a server without lag, and a recently released patch was supposed to fix this, but EA has since recalled the patch due to a memory leak. Hopefully this will be sorted sooner rather than later…The other new feature of an online ranking system is fantastic in that you can track your progress against everyone, however – these only count on ranked servers – and these can be extremely hard to get onto a good one without any lag that isn’t full – so be prepared to have to do a little searching.

However, overall this game is a great deal of fun to play, even if it won’t have the longeivity of Counter Strike, it’s still good to pick up and have in your collection – now if you excuse me, I’mgoing to try and pilot a chopper out of here – damn…I crashed again…

Overall Score: 86%

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